Because of ecological and climatic changes, animal diseases and increasing insecurity, many pastoralists in East Africa in general are being forced to fully or partly exit the pastoralism. Instead, they are increasingly getting involved in complementary livelihoods and adopting non-pastoral income strategies in order to supplement their income, meet consumption needs and cushion themselves against shocks.
The overall objective of this study was to identify activities that are providing complementary livelihood support and to conduct market and value chain analysis for the selected commodities.This included understanding the potential of complementary livelihood activities, marketability of the products and the challenges encountered. This is necessary in the design of appropriate intervention mechanisms to support the pastoralists with their agro based activities. The study was conducted in targeted clustered areas in the IGAD region, including the following: (i) Borana and South Omo zones in Ethiopia, (ii) Marsabit, Turkana and West Pokot counties in Kenya and (iii) The Karamoja region in Uganda. This was a qualitative study where data was collected through key informant interviews, focused group discussions, and was substantiated with extensive review of literature.
The study found out that a number of complementary livelihood activities exist in all the areas visited, but the potential for their commercialization varies from one location to another depending on the abundance of relative resources and access to market which leads to their socio-economic contribution. Moreover, the fact that projects often have a short life based on support, adopting complementary livelihood activities is more advisable than introducing new ones. Consequently, the six most essential complementary livelihood activities for the targeted cluster of pastoral areas are poultry farming, fishing, beekeeping, use of Aloe Vera plant to make products, milk collection and processing, and basketry. Their relative importance, however, varies from place to place. Accordingly, the following applies: (i) Poultry farming is more prevalent in West Pokot and Karamoja regions; (ii) Fishing is more sustainable in South Omo zone and Marsabit County; (iii) Milk collection and processing is viable in Borana and Marsabit; (iv) Beekeeping in South Omo, Turkana, West Pokot and Karamoja; (v) Basketry in Turkana; and (vi) Aloe Vera plant is applicable in all study areas considered.